Senior Propulsion Design and Analysis Engineer

Company Details

At Virgin Orbit, we launch the small satellite revolution, accessing space for missions that were previously unimaginable and fostering new ideas and technologies to create a truly spacefaring civilization. We deliver Virgin’s legendary customer service by pairing technological advancements with a clear focus on our customers’ needs. We build a workplace and a workforce for the future, knowing that our decisions and investments of today will launch the industries of tomorrow. We engage a diverse and inclusive community of dreamers and achievers in a shared mission to access space to improve life on Earth. At Virgin Orbit, we boost imagination.

Position Summary

Virgin Orbit (VO) is seeking a new member of our team to serve as a Senior Propulsion Design and Analysis Engineer. If you join us in this position, you will be a technical leader in the design and analysis of all types of propulsion hardware, from piece parts to entire engines.  You will produce designs from conceptual to flight maturity levels, and analyze all types of propulsion data, in an effort to continually improve flight-worthy designs into ever higher degrees of performance.  The ideal candidate will have a diverse set of excellences, including mechanical design, structural and thermal analysis, dynamic data analysis, and hot fire performance data assessment. This role is for a hands-on person with great attention to detail and excellent people skills. This is a full-time position at our rocket factory in beautiful Long Beach, California.

Your Mission

  • Guide design, analysis, development, and manufacture of propulsion hardware used in pump-fed liquid rocket engines, including fluid-handling components, structural supports, and major propulsion assemblies
  • Lead trade studies and concept evaluation of potential new designs
  • Perform mechanical design of propulsion hardware
  • Perform structural analysis of propulsion hardware
  • Perform thermal analysis of propulsion hardware
  • Release engineering of propulsion hardware, incorporating proper sizing, loads, environments, and interfaces with higher level assemblies
  • Advise on operational best practices related to all phases of hardware life, including ground test, prelaunch, and flight activities
  • Identify design solutions to facilitate streamlined manufacturing of propulsion hardware
  • Help foster continual improvement in designs
  • Analyze data generated by propulsion systems, including engine hot fire tests, component tests, and flight data, to diagnose system behavior, investigate anomalies, and advise on design improvements
  • Analyze data in both the time and frequency domains
  • Perform reduction of data gathered from propulsion hardware operation for use in sundry analyses and other evaluations
  • Operate and, as needed, alter engine performance models to predict engine system behavior
  • Mentor teammates in best practices of design and analysis
  • Develop tools and analysis methods to facilitate the foregoing responsibilities
  • Perform other duties as necessary in a lightweight engineering organization

What you bring


  • 5 years of experience with a Bachelor’s Degree in a relevant discipline (engineering, physics, or chemistry)
  • 3 years of experience with a graduate degree in a relevant discipline (engineering, physics, or chemistry)
  • Demonstrated experience in hardware design, following aerospace industry design best practices
  • Knowledge of typical aerospace materials and hardware
  • Mastery of fluids and structural principles relevant to rocket engine hardware
  • Problem solving capability ranging from first principals and hand calculations through detailed analytical modeling
  • Experience with evaluation of rocket engine data, data post-processing, and comparison to models and physical principles
  • Experience with some of the relevant software used in the aerospace industry, such as NX, ANSYS, Matlab, ROCETS, and GFSSP
  • Familiarity with industry standards and specifications from SMC, NASA, ASTM, AMS, etc.
  • Capability of solving complex problems with little-to-no supervision, on schedule, as an individual or as leader of an integrated team
  • Rigorous attention to detail

Preferred Attributes

  • Experience with pump fed liquid rocket engine hot fire testing
  • Experience with rocket turbomachinery
  • Experience with liquid rocket engine combustion devices
  • Experience with a wide variety of instrumentation
  • Experience with typical liquid rocket propellants, including cryogenic fluids
  • Experience in mechanical design for manufacturability
  • Experience with dynamic data acquisition, processing, and evaluation

ITAR Requirements

To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, applicant must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by ITAR (22 CFR §120.15) or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State.

Personal Requirements

Our idea of a happy life: build rockets, work with brilliant people, serve purposeful customers, and open access to space. Sir Richard Branson’s belief is “If you get the perfect mix of people working for your company, you have a far greater chance of success.” From the very start, we have placed top priority on growing and fostering a team of creative, diverse, and talented women and men. In the words of Sir Richard Branson “We believe it’s better to have a hole in your team than an asshole in your team!”

Virgin Orbit is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with Virgin Orbit is governed on the basis of merit, competence and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, color, religion, gender, national origin/ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.

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